Republicans Welcome 'Audit The Vote' Over Misguided Conspiracy Theory

When hashtag 'Audit The Vote' started trending, it was clear that misinformed Republicans still have some outlandish beliefs about who voted.

Hashtag 'Audit The Vote' has been trending on Twitter, in response to Donald Trump's win the presidency, after the National Security Agency has claimed Russia has been hacking and interfering with the election. Many Republicans and Trump supporters were eager for the proposed audit, although their reasoning was shocking.

A petition started by Verified Voting is aiming to garner 50K signatories and is well on its way to acheiving that goal. The petition states, "Did hackers manipulate the results by compromising voting equipment? Did other problems, glitches, or errors affect the outcome? There's a simple, relatively inexpensive way to find out: audit the electronic results against the paper ballots used by about 75% of U.S. voters."

Verified Voting's mission statement addresses concerns around voters' rights and representation as we transition into the digital age.

"Our operational strategy is to bring together policy-makers and officials who are designing and implementing voting-related legislation and regulations with the technology experts who comprehend the risks associated with the emerging digital landscape, particularly the on-line and electronic elements in voting."

As the 'Audit The Vote' hashtag appeared on Twitter, Republicans seemed to enthusiastically support the audit, claiming —unbelievably—that Hillary Clinton only got as many votes as she did because non-citizens and dead people were being used to vote in her favor.

Firstly, the idea that non-citizens get to vote in states that have same-day registration was a falsehood perpetuated by Trump himself. The claim in the aftermath of the election that 3 million illegal immigrants voted for Clinton has no basis in fact and is based on a single, as-yet-unsubstantiated tweet.

Gregg Phillips, Founder of VoteStand, who tweeted the claim, refused to back it up, even when prompted by a reporter. The number of supposed illegal voters has just increased as the information was shared across platforms.

The second claim, that dead people were being used to swing the popular vote for Clinton, also came from Trump and was disproved by The Washington Post before the election even happened.

At a rally in October, Trump claimed, "More than 1.8 million deceased individuals right now are listed as voters." He went on to heavily imply that the Clinton camp was behind the fraud, saying "But I have a feeling they're not gonna vote for me. Of the 1.8 million, 1.8 million is voting for someone else."

The Post explains that this conspiracy was born out of a misconstrued statement from Pew research which had critiqued the mass of out-of-date information being kept by the voter registry, including marriages, address changes, and yes, 1.8 million deceased people whose families forgot or didn't know to update their voter registration.

But Pew never even hinted that those 1.8 million people's loved ones had been contacted by the Democratic party or that they were being asked to use their deceased loved ones' ballots to vote for Clinton. For Trump to propose such a thing was preposterous, but these Republicans on Twitter apparently fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.

Whether or not an audit will occur is mere conjecture at this point. But we should be aware that whatever results we are left with as a country, now-president-elect Trump's conspiracy theories were categorically false and only served to hoodwink the voters who supported and believed him.

Banner Image Credit: Reuters

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